Imagine a World Where All People Are Included in History

Robert Friedman

January 22, 2024

Imagine a world where all people, regardless of their circumstances, financial means, or social status have the opportunity to be remembered for generations to come. Imagine a world where all people can be remembered for who they are and where they have control over how they are remembered. Imagine a world where anyone – students, scholars of history, your descendents – has access to the first-hand accounts of anyone who lived before them.

Donate today at to make that vision a reality.

Create a history of all people

At Permanent, we believe that all people leave an impression on the world that deserves to be preserved. We believe that individual stories can have a profound influence on how we understand the world and our place in it. Unfortunately, not all people have an equitable opportunity to be remembered for who they are. Not all people have equitable control over how they are remembered.

Preservation has never been free or easy but today, it is more affordable and more accessible than ever before. Digital media, cloud storage, mobile devices, social media, massive hard drive capacity, and super fast internet have made it possible for nearly anyone to document and save a digital record of their most valuable memories, ideas, writings, art works, or whichever threads can be woven together to tell their story. 

What has not gotten much easier for nearly anyone is guaranteeing that those digital records will be there in the future, whether that’s for themselves or for their descendents, into the next century or often even into the next week. People need a trusted place to save their most important files and a way to do it that doesn’t require an advanced degree in information science.

Modern technology may have democratized access to information but it hasn’t yet democratized the creation of history. We need to shift the paradigm.

That’s why we built – an industry-leading, open source, digital preservation application for the open web. Anyone with an email address and an internet connection can create a free account and receive a free gigabyte to start preserving their legacy today. Our sustainability model and archiving technology is what makes the difference between and every other consumer cloud storage option out there. And we go the extra mile to help our members achieve their preservation goals. Check out our knowledge base, blog, podcast, newsletter, github repository, and calendar of events to get engaged with Permanent and learn something new.

Doing more to reach and include all people

As much as we wish it were that easy – which is already not that easy at all – building and supporting alone is simply not enough to reach and include all people in preserving their legacies for future generations. Too many barriers still exist for too many people. 

Technical proficiency, information literacy and financial means prevent people from taking full advantage of our web application at Not enough free time, limited access to the right tools or expertise, and a lack of awareness prevent people from engaging with digital preservation. People also often do not appreciate the value of their own story beyond their social circles or beyond their own lifetimes. Sadly, some do not value their own story at all.

And hardest of all to reach and include are those whose story has been traditionally neglected, marginalized, or for whom telling their story can bring risk of harm to themselves – even when it threatens no harm to anyone else. It takes a special effort to preserve the legacies of people whose story has not been traditionally valued or protected by mainstream society. We often learn the stories of those who fought oppression but we don’t as often know the stories of those who had to endure it. 

At Permanent we do more. Our Byte4Byte (B4B) program is how Permanent ensures future generations have access to the diverse and vibrant legacies of past and present individuals, organizations, and movements in communities of all kinds. Through B4B we make storage grants to nonprofit organizations who are committed to shifting the historical paradigm and uplifting historically marginalized narratives for social good. Each B4B partner receives 100GB of Permanent storage and dedicated support from our staff, including the option to host paid interns. Donors can give directly to support the B4B program and even designate a specific B4B partner to receive their donation directly in the form of storage grants or internships.

In all of our member success resources, media, content and events, we seek out and include the broadest possible diversity of perspectives that we can find on family history, archiving practices, and historical preservation. We elevate and platform voices that represent folks who are missing from our existing member community as well as folks who are working alongside us to reach and include those who are missing. Our B4B partners are regular subjects, voices or representatives in these resources.

Finally, we publish our software under an open source license that makes it possible for other nonprofits to utilize our software. We build in the open and host our code on GitHub so that anyone can benefit from our work. And we publish and support an open API to allow other technology partners and providers to interface with our platform to build tools or offer services that expand our capacity to serve more people. Here our Byte4Byte members participate as well by providing essential feedback on our product and informing our development strategy.

You can help do this work with us

Whether you are an existing member with an account on, are unsure of how to get started, or have been watching from the sidelines, you can still help to ensure that all people have an equitable opportunity to be remembered for generations to come. 

Making a donation to Permanent is the best way to advance our mission and sustain our work. When you make your donation, you can let us decide how to best use your contribution or you can direct it to the Byte4Byte program or a nonprofit partner. You can also help us grow our program by spreading the word to nonprofits who you think should apply.

Not ready to donate? Then create a free account on Buy storage for yourself or gift storage to a trusted friend who is dear to you. Gather your friends and family near you by inviting them to be a member of your Permanent archive. Buying storage is another way to advance our mission. Storage fees are saved (not spent) in our endowment, another pillar of our sustainability model.

We invite you to stay connected by subscribing to our monthly newsletter, joining one of our monthly events, listening to our podcast, or following us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Mastodon.